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Not Just for Grandma: Seniors’ Hobbies That Are Making a Comeback

Tired of the same old Rock Band night? Is your Buy 10 Get 1 Free Admission at the local bowling alley gathering dust? Do you lust for a fashionable and stimulating new hobby you can share with all of your favourite people?

Look no further than your Grandma (or Grandpa). Say what?! Seriously though, some of the most popular hobbies out there right now come straight from the Seniors’ Home. It’s not that uncommon for one generation to borrow from a previous one, and right now activities from the 30s, 50s and 80s are making their way back into our lives.

With National Grandparent’s Day popping up September 9th, we thought we’d take a look at how some of the hobbies of old are making a Winona Ryder-like comeback in popular culture. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!

Puzzles

Does your senior have 18 boxes of jungle animal jigsaw puzzles that always seem to be missing a piece? Gramps is onto something here – and it turns out they’re also good for your health. In fact, a lifelong habit of puzzling their brain could be why your senior is still sharp as a tack! They can be educational, beautiful, challenging, ridiculously difficult and from 25 – 18,000+ pieces. What’s your preference?

It’s not just teddy bears and flower arrangement pictures anymore either – with a new demand for more interesting designs, you can find beautiful works of art, spiral-shaped pieces, panoramic options and even naughty puzzles for your enjoyment. Bonus: Find a picture you adore and glue into a gorgeous frame when you’re done.

Keeping puzzles in your life can help delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, supports the growth of new cells and fortifies the connections between them. Practicing puzzles can even help us use maps and drive our cars by challenging our spatial placement!

Board Games

Were you forced to play Risk every time you went to Grandma’s house? With Board Game Cafes popping up in the trendiest neighbourhoods, you can test out the latest with your pals while sipping lattes and chowing on muffins – without having to shell out before you test the fun-ness.

Many of them can also work nicely with online apps to further enhance your experience – and make some version of the game available when you’re away from your nearest coffee table.

Adult board games are bringing inappropriate laughter and inspiring questionable conversations among your table, but these bad boys can help you get to know your friends better – and make for a cozier kind of social gathering. Whether it’s because we are a little more conscious of money, or that it’s an easy way to break the ice if you’re not getting hammered, board games are definitely back with a vengeance.

This is not your average game of Monopoly. According to Grand View Research, trends show the overall game and puzzle industry sale to grow to almost $30 billion by 2025!

Knitting

Do you have warm and wonderful memories of your Granny clicking away on the knitting needles because she heard your Mum’s high school best friend’s daughter was having a baby? Turns out Granny was on to something beyond paying kindness to someone, knitting provides some interesting health benefits and it’s actually really relaxing.

With events like I Love Yarn Day in the US (in its 7th year) and Yarn Shop Day in the UK and Ireland (turning 6 in 2019) seeing increasing numbers, crafters from all over the world are starting from scratch and perfecting their art. Etsy is full of knitwear and we’re seeing more and more luxurious yarns, from 100% cashmere to the uber expensive vicuna to inspire us to bring more coziness into our lives.

Not only is knitting a pastime that reaps tangible results, it can save you a ton of money when it comes to gifting, can keep you challenged and give you a creative outlet, plus it also helps us deal with stress! The meditative motion of knitting can distract us from the concerns and pain in our lives, plus it lowers our blood pressure, bringing a feeling of calm. We also feel a sense of accomplishment when we complete our given task – and have a delightful hat, glove, blanket to show for it.

Bridge

Did you ever make the mistake of calling your Grandpa on bridge night? If yours was like mine, you were expected to know better! “It’s my bridge night kid, call me tomorrow.” This game of partners and strategy is alive and well, with memberships across the world continuing to increase. The American Contract Bridge League boasts 167,000 members and the European Bridge League represents 46 countries and a whopping 352,000 members, ranging from all ages.

From the Montreal Bridge League website: ‘The ultimate game of skill, bridge enthrals its enthusiasts because of the continuous challenge it poses and the numerous opportunities it offers to meet with fellow players, promoting an active and stimulating social life.’

With tournaments held in Turkey, Florida, Israel, Sweden and China – you could travel the world on your freaky card skills. Make sure you have a good partner though, you wouldn’t want to let Grandpa down on his legacy!

Baking - DIY Donuts!

OK, I’m totally cheating, but you know someone’s Nana made a hobby out of making (or eating) these deliciously sweet and soft circles of sugar dough. Besides, the tornado of improvement that has hit the donut industry makes it totally worthy to take on as a legitimate pastime, even if you are just walking all over town to find the latest trendy donut bakery to satisfy your obsession (and to burn off those extra calories.)

It’s an art! From the Nutella donut with Fruit Loops topping at Pablo & Rusty’s in Sydney, Australia to the classic Voodoo Doll Donut, filled with raspberry jelly and topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake through the heart from Portland, Oregon’s favorite Voodoo Donuts, these delicious desserts have surpassed the cupcake as our favourite gourmet treats.

Just for fun, find out if Nana had a favourite recipe, or maybe you could pay her homage and find a gourmet donut that tastes just like her Christmas cake. We bet she’ll be tickled to share a half dozen with you!

Conclusion

Maybe we’re just losing interest in 24/7 screen time, or perhaps it’s a natural cycle of life to pull out old tricks and make them new again. Whatever the reason, some of these classic pastimes are making their way back into our lives – and Grandma would be proud! In honour of National Grandparent’s Day and to celebrate and pay proper respect to our beloved elders, take a page out of their playbook and give one of these hobbies a spin.

If you’re lucky enough to still have grandparents in your life, take them along for the ride! They’ll love having something else in common with you and can probably teach you how to do it as well.

Sarah McCullough

Sarah McCullough

Sarah focuses on stress management, healthy sleep, and how interior design and colour contribute to relaxing environments. By day, Sarah works in Human Resources, eagerly absorbing knowledge about the human psyche and why we behave and interact the way we do. Sarah started her career journey with a single year... Read More

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